Sewing, stitching, baking, cooking, gardening, shopping and general homemaking.

Friday, 13 December 2013

More From Bonmarche

I went out for a Christmas lunch with friends yesterday and wore another Bonmarche outfit.  What would I do without them!  Since David Emanuel started designing for them they have come up with clothes I just 'have' to buy.  Here's the top I wore...
This top has a bit of a gather at the front with a tie at the side...

I find this style gives me a bit of shape at the waist, I'm one of those body types that doesn't have a very defined waist.
If I start to feel a bit cool here's the perfect fancy cardigan to slip on...
It's an edge to edge style so hangs nicely without being bulky.  The yarn is a sort of fluffy ribbon type that is all the fashion at the moment and feels lovely and soft to wear, not a bit itchy like some fluffy yarns can feel.  Perfect!
Bonmarche also have some very nice accessories,, I've shown some scarfs previously.  Now I have an umbrella that goes with the animal print scarf I have...
And I did see that, as well as their knitted pull-on hats, they also have a very nice grey hat that I want - love that hat!
I wasn't asked to review any of this, I'm just so glad that Bonmarche is there for me to shop at.  I went for years grumbling that I couldn't find anything to wear that I really liked.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fabric Basket

This months stitch-along (SAL) at the group I'm in  is for a fabric basket

I can't give any instructions or tutorials for the Christmas tags or this basket because the copyright belongs to one of our members but if you would like to join in with our SALs all you have to do is join our group.  We are a very friendly lot and welcome anyone who does any kind of fabric/thread/yarn crafts.  So, if you are a beginner up to more experienced we will be happy to see you.
Another little project I finished is a rose sachet...
This is my favourite type of embroidery project.  The sachet measures about 2 inches square and I've used bullion knots for the flowers and the bees bodies, detached chain stitch for the leaves and stem stitch for the stems.  I filled it with wadding and a mixture of rose petals and lavender.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Couple More Tags

The second redwork tag has sequins and beads on the end of the branches...
And this tag is from a tutorial here ...
It is a very quick project and only needs felt and scraps of fabric and embellishments like lace, ric-rac and braid.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Redwork Gift Tag

The stitch-along at the group I'm in is redwork gift tags.  So far I've only finished one.  Not because it is time consuming or difficult, it's because instead of settling down to one project at a time I've got three on the go - redwork, fern stitch and chicken scratch.  If I had three pairs of hands I'd be fine!
I probably won't use this as a gift tag, I'll use it as a hanging decoration.  These tags are nice projects and don't take a lot of time.  I think they look very effective, thanks to Heather in our group.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Chicken Scratch Embroidery

I hadn't been in the mood for embroidery lately, too busy with other things, like going on holidays, sorting my clothes out and spending more time outside in the lovely summer weather we had.  Now, at last, I'm back in the mood.  I've wanted to do some chicken scratch embroidery for a long time, this week I settled down and made this...
It was quicker to do than I expected it to be and I got it finished in three days.  It looks very pretty, I'm already planning my next project.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Two Blouses

I thought these two blouses would look nice with a black skirt for evening wear...

This blouse has a frilly front, not something I tend to go for.  It also came with a black camisole vest, very handy as the fabric is quite sheer.  Here's a close up of the frill...
It's not very easy to see in the picture as it lies quite close to the body of the blouse and is not too fussy.
This next blouse also came with a camisole, this one is the same colour as the blouse...
I particularly like this blouse because of the sleeves.  My arms have lost their firmness and are best kept hidden!
Here's a close up of the fabric, very nice I think...
I can also wear my black trousers with these two blouses if I can't find a suitable skirt.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Keeping Warm This Winter Clothes

Us older people know to put on an jumper in cold weather, we don't need to be told how to dress do we.  Here's a really warm outfit I'll be wearing on those cold days...

This long cardigan is from the Bonmarche latest collection, I love the length of it and it feels so soft and comfortable.  I always have this type of cardigan in my wardrobe because I can wear it when I go walking on nice autumn days as well as for extra warmth in the winter.

I've teamed it with a turtle neck jumper, scarf and navy blue trousers, all from Bonmarche.  I think this outfit looks smart yet casual.  And the turtle neck jumper and scarf add that bit of extra warm around my neck.

I was very lucky to be chosen by Bonmarche to review this cardigan, which I was happy to do.  I've truthfully reported on what I think of this cardigan, I probably would have bought it anyway so it was a lovely surprise to get this one to review.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pensioner on a Budget Clothes

I needed something a bit smarter than my coat that I wear for walking, which is hooded, quilted, waterproof and great for bad weather.  I wanted something smart, warm and inexpensive...

I liked this coat because it is slightly shaped at the waist and has the added bonus of being machine washable, who can afford dry cleaning, not me.  It also buttons up right to the neck and has nice detail on the cuffs, pockets and shoulders.  The lining is put in nicely too.  At £40 I think it is a very good buy.
I seem to have bought a lot of clothes recently but I used money I had saved throughout the year.  If I was to add up how much I'd spent it probably wouldn't be much over a couple of hundred pounds, I've ended up with a good variety and can now feel neat and tidy.  Remember when our children/grandchildren got to an age when they wanted money for birthdays and Christmas?  Well I think we get to an age ourselves when we really don't need gifts that would probably be gathering dust or put away in cupboards so asking them for money or gift vouchers means we can treat ourselves to what we really need - in my case at the moment that would be clothes!  After many years of neglect I'd better make the most of myself while I still can.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Looking for Fashion Blogs

First of all, here's a bag and wallet I bought this year...
The handbag was £18 and the wallet was £5.  This is a very roomy bag with lots of pockets inside so everything doesn't fall in a big jumble to the bottom.
Right, the reason for this post is because I've looked and looked for fashion blogs by older women and so far haven't found one.  There are loads of blogs by youngsters and there is some mention of old women who dress ridiculously.  In my opinion these so called fashionable older women just look weird, there is nothing nice about crepey skin or cellulite.  Some people will disagree with this opinion, that is up to them, but I have both and do not want it on display.
Do you know of any bloggers who are older and dress in a dignified manner?  Please let me know if you do, I'd love to compare notes with them.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Sparkly Clothes

When I'm away on holiday I need something a bit fancy to wear in the evenings.  I don't think I ever owned anything sparkly.  When I saw this top I decided it would be just what I needed...
Usually I buy a size 14/16 (UK sizing) but when I looked at this top I thought it looked quite wide in the size 16 so measured it against another top that I knew fitted.  I ended up buying the size 12 and it fits beautifully.  All I can say is, if you are large you would probably find a size to fit you, I know my friend who is large likes this top, she said the style helps disguise her tummy area.  The sequins are not stitched on, they seem to be part of the fabric so I don't have to worry about them catching and falling off.
Here's how I wore it...
The cardigan and top are from - yes you guessed - Bonmarche, and the trousers are from M&Co.  I bought the trousers last year from their shop in Bexhill on Sea (yes, I was on holiday again!).

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Meeting Friends for Coffee Clothes

I love this outfit (good thing I do or why would I have bought it!!!).  So I wore it yesterday morning to meet friends at Costa for coffee.  Apart from the scarf, which I got from a charity shop for £1.99, everything else is from Bonmarche, again.  I had a bit of a panic attack this morning "What if Bonmarche go out of business, where would I buy clothes I could afford?".  Good job I've been stocking up isn't it.
This is the first 'occasional' handbag I've bought for years, usually I go for black serviceable bags that I can wear crossed over my shoulder. I thought it went very nicely with the above outfit, it was inexpensive, £16, and with my loyalty points I got it for £11.  The wallet matches better than it shows in the picture, the red isn't that bright, and it cost me £15 from a handbag shop in Sandown, Isle of Wight, when I was on holiday there recently.
The four of us had a nice hour together, three of us looked stylish for older ladies, and the fourth lady needs a bit of encouragement to make more of herself.  Just because we're pensioners doesn't mean we have to be dowdy does it.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Cosy Clothes

The jumper in this picture was just what I needed for this cool weather we are getting now...
I've teamed it with a gilet, scarf and jeans.  The jumper was £10 (because I bought two they were two for £20 instead of £12 each), the gilet was about £7/£9, I forget the exact price, it is a fleece Regatta, the scarf was £4 and the jeans are stretch denim at £15.  Apart from the gilet everything was from Bon Marche.  (I have no affiliation with Bon Marche, just thought I would record the clothes I'm buying this year and they just happen to mostly be from them.)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Nice Clothes

I've gone a bit crazy lately buying new clothes.  For quite a few years I lost interest in taking care of myself.  Lately I've felt much better and realised the clothes I had were a mess.  So it was time to update myself.  I have shown one or two things I bought in the past but lately I've bought a lot.  Here is a top and pants that I wore this week...

I love this top, and it only cost £14, the pants are sort of jogging bottom type fabric and cost £10, the scarf I already had.  This made a really comfy outfit to wear around the house.  I like a scarf, my neck gets cold so I always feel much warmer with a scarf.  I got the top and pants from Bon Marche, their clothes style has really improved this last couple of years, lots of stylish stuff for the older woman.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Round Robin Embroidery

I'm currently participating in a Round Robin that is for stitching related items.  So far we've made a needlecase and pincushion...
There are five of us in the group, four stitch on the item and the fifth (whoever the items are for) sews them together.  The others are doing crazy quilting but I wanted the type of finish you see in the picture, I think the work is beautiful.  I do enjoy stitching on the crazy quilting that the others are doing.  Our next project is a hussif.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Autumn Fruit

Well, what a summer it's been, it was actually hot!  It seems years since we had such good weather for an extended length of time.  Here are a few things from my garden...

I'm still getting rhubarb, it's done well this year, hardly got any last year.
I simmered the rhubarb then put it in a pyrex bowl and covered it with blackberries.  These blackberries are from a bramble that is growing wild in my next door neighbours garden.  It is creeping into my garden, I'm sure my neighbour doesn't mind sharing!
Here's the crumble I made, yum, rhubarb and blackberry crumble.
100g plain flour
100g sugar
50g corn meal
50g porridge oats
100g butter
Whirled all together in my food processor - easy.  The oats and corn meal stop the crumble topping being stodgy.
Now I've just got to do something with my damsons
Maybe another crumble.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Replying to comments

Thanks Theanne, Laurie, Peggy and Dorothy for your comments on my outfit.  I never know how to reply to comments.  I notice that on some blogs you can 'reply' to individual comments but not on this blog.  I enjoy reading your comments and do appreciate getting them, it is fun to hear from you and what you think of my posts.

Growing in Pots

It's two years since we got our polytunnel.  Last year was a terrible year for the veg I grew in it.  I think it was a combination of lack of sun, cool temperature and poor soil.  This year I decided that grow bags were the answer.  Each grow bag has two or three plant halos .  So far they are working out great.  They are easy to water and feed.  All the plants are growing really well.  The aubergine and peppers look very healthy, in fact the aubergine is the best one I've ever grown, and even the peas are doing well with lots of pods on them.  Also, it is easy to keep a check on slugs and snails, we have a terrible problem with these but I put plastic sheeting on the soil and placed the grow bags on top, this way I can safely use slug barrier if I want to, not that I have had to so far.
There are a couple of empty spaces in the corners.  Just to fill these in I planted sweet corn in two of them, don't know how they'll do but this year is really just a trial for the grow bags.  Next year I'll put grow bags in these corners too.  Can't you tell I'm pleased!
Next to the polytunnel I have a large raised bed.  This contains cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  I have completely covered this bed with netting as I was sick of cabbage white butterflies laying eggs on my brassicas.  Each year my brassica crop has been ruined by the caterpillars.

I managed to squeeze a row of broad beans and a wigwam of runner beans in our flower garden.

So, no lettuce, no beetroot, no carrots this year.  There are quite a few things I have missed planting this year.  After the disappointment of last year's growing and wondering how best to use the polytunnel I was a bit more cautious with what to grow.
Up at the house I have some cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets and a courgette in a big tub.

Notice I now have a water butt here.  Altogether I have three water butts now, very useful they are too.  Two are up near my veg plot, they collect the water from our garage.
My veg growing is more for fun than to be self sufficient though it does mean that some years I've had enough veg and salad to supply me for several months.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Outfit Put Together

I'm trying to overcome my dislike of having my picture taken.  I don't recognise myself anymore!!!  Who is that old woman?
"Put your head up!"

"Ok, clever clog!"
Well, I suppose these pictures aren't too bad, thanks Graham for taking them!
I wanted to show how my latest sewing efforts looked on.  Well, they feel very comfortable.  The trousers are very comfy, they don't crush my kneecaps, something I find very painful these days.  The top is very baggy but I think that is because I'm not used to really baggy tops.  I teamed it with this cardi and it is altogether a comfortable outfit.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Butterick 5610

I started this blouse a couple of weeks ago.  It shouldn't have taken me this long to finish it but I had a horrible cold all last week so no sewing got done at all.  Yesterday I felt well enough to finish it off...

I liked the look of this blouse on the pattern and it was fairly easy to make.  It does feel a bit baggy when I tried it on.  It doesn't have any waist shaping so I curved the side seam slightly to reduce the bagginess.  I'll have to wear it a few times before I decide if it is just something to wear around the house or if it is suitable to be seen in public.  I do intend to make the other version of it but will probably go a size down.

This fabric that I used is from Boyes .  Boyes is a very useful shop, they sell everything!  They have now even started selling dressmaking patterns.  I will go there this week and check that out.  The fabric is cotton and is nice and light, it might have some polyester in it, I'm not sure but it feels like cotton to me and irons at quite a high temperature.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

More Wide Leg Trousers

This pair of palazzo pants are just about as perfect as I can get them...

They are elasticated at the back and have the drawstring front.  This will allow for the fluctuations in my waist size that can happen over a day.  The body is nice and long so feels really comfortable, I don't like waistbands that don't reach my waist.  Also, once again, they cost me nothing, this was a flat sheet that came with a duvet cover and wasn't used.
I've sent for a blouse pattern that will go nicely with these trousers.  I thought it might come today so was disappointed when it didn't arrive.
One thing I've learnt recently is not to go by my dress size with patterns.  When I was a 10 or 12 (UK)  the patterns fit me.  Now that I am a dress size 14 (UK) I have to use the size 18 on the pattern.  No wonder I was having difficulty.  I didn't know this and, thanks once again to the internet, I was able to look up the facts on the difference between patterns and ready to wear clothes.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Tunic Tops

In January the group I belong to started a monthly stitch-along (SAL).  Each month a different member has hosted one of these SALs.  For the month of May our member from Mexico came up with a dress/tunic top for us to have a go at.  I went for the tunic top.  Here are my efforts...
I wasn't sure how they would fit so decided to use recycled fabric, namely a duvet cover that I kept because I just knew it would come in handy sometime.  I like the one on the right best.  I still haven't got the shoulder fit correct but they are both wearable.  Not bad for nothing.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

More Trousers

Here is the third version of the palazzo pants.  I'm pleased with these and will make notes on what alterations I made to the pattern...
I did think I wouldn't like wearing patterned trousers but I feel ok in these.  They are very comfortable and cool.
Originally I was going to make a dress, then I thought maybe a skirt.  It suddenly occurred to me that I rarely wear skirts and dresses.  I know why, I like to wear socks because my feet get cold.  Even if I wear tights my feet still get cold.  A skirt looks terrible with socks!  And it rarely gets warm enough to wear skirts and dresses regularly.  So, why not have some colourful trousers?  The next pair will be yellow, looking forward to making those.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Palazzo Trousers

I've been watching Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries on tv recently and fell completely in love with her clothes - they are gorgeous.  I thought I would be able to make myself a pair of palazzo trousers quite easily from a 1970s pattern.  I did make some in flannelette first and they looked just what I wanted and made great pyjama trousers.  Anyway, I bought some black and white polka dot fabric that is quite flimsy and drapes well.  I made the trousers and for some reason they turned out a lot smaller than the flannelette ones.  Why, I do not know.  It was impossible to squeeze into them as the fabric was too flimsy for a lot of tugging and pulling and frayed at the seams.  I ended up inserting a wider piece over the hip area that I reinforced with some cotton fabric.  They fit now but I have to disguise the join by wearing a long tunic top with them...
Also, the seams are a bit puckered.  I will use cotton tape on the seams when I make something with this type of fabric in future.  I did use the cotton tape on the hems and it worked great.  If I make a top with this fabric I'll line it.  I don't really know what the fabric is, probably some sort of polyester/rayon, not sure.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


This is the blouse I made using New Look 6187.  I used cotton poplin for the main body and a patterned cotton for the trim...

I shortened the length by four inches, I don't like blouses that come too low over my hips.  I'm not sure that I'll ever wear it.  Firstly, I don't like the colour.  Also, I don't like cotton blouses.  And lastly, even though I made the size 14 (UK) it feels a bit tight across the shoulders.  Finally, why the hell did I make it!!!  All I can say is, it was good practise and I enjoyed the process.  I will probably make another one in a drapier fabric but I won't do this type of collar, there is a boat neck version in the pattern.
Ok, so on to the next project.  I have some polyester crepe that is more my type of blouse fabric.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Finished the pyjama bottoms I started yesterday...
The fabric is flannalette, I've had it in my stash for almost seven years.  I used the trouser pattern I showed in my previous post.  I didn't sew the darts in and didn't add the waistband.  I put elastic in the back waist and left the front waist plain and just turned over a hem.  They turned out nice so will be using the same pattern to make palazzo pants.  I will probably add the waistband and put a side zip in them.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


When I was 13 years old I made my first dress.  The school I was going to at the time (I went to several different schools, but that is another story) had a really good curriculum and sewing was one of the subjects.  Anyway, after making that first dress I rarely bought another one until a few years ago when fabric became more expensive than ready made clothing.  The only reason I will be returning to dressmaking now is because I will be able to come up with styles I like to wear instead of relying on what the shops dictate.  (Also was influenced by The Great British Sewing Bee)

So, I've bought myself a dressmakers dummy.  I would have loved one all those years ago but they were too expensive for me.  Here's the one I bought wearing a dress I bought last year...

I've got a huge stash of fabric, mostly for patchwork.  Looking through it I found some flannelette that would be great for pyjama trousers.  Then I looked through the few patterns I've got.  These were given to me a couple of years ago after I'd chucked out the huge pile I'd collected over the years - oh dear, typical, get rid of something and you'll need it.  Here's a picture of the flannelette and the pattern.  Notice that the pattern has never been used, I wonder how many patterns were bought and not used then thrown away.  Anyway, the pattern has trousers, blouse, jacket and skirt.  I'll be able to adapt all these for most of the clothes I want to make, saves me searching for the exact pattern that I can never find in shops...
We'll see how I get on.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

This and That

Can't stop making bags at the moment.  Here's another bag, this time with a scissor pocket...

I'm also in the process of making a two pocket sewing pouch.  I got the tutorial for the pouch from here . So far I've cut out the lining and the interlining, then I'll get the outside started tomorrow.
This morning I cut out a quilt, well almost, I've still got to cut out the applique flowers but the main part is cut out.  This is from a kit I bought in Linlithgow two or three years ago.  I've only just got around to taking it out of the packet.
Another thing I did last week was get my hair cut and permed.  I stopped going to the hairdresser about five years ago after several disastrous hair cuts.  I was really fed up with spending good money for second rate hair dos.  Anyway, I'd grown it and was putting it up at the back and sort of curling the top.  It was ok but - if you know what I mean.  Well, I'm very pleased with it, I recognise myself again.  My 'updo' was very ageing.
I've noticed that the talk on a lot of the sewing blogs is about The Great British Sewing Bee.  Before it started I thought we were in for a boring dressmaking challenge but it has turned out very interesting and inspirational.  Love all the contestants and the challenges kept my interest.  Some bloggers have complained about not keeping their favourite contestant in the show.  I really hate it when a contestant is kept in because they are 'cute' or 'sweet' or 'charming'.  The contestants should prove that they are worth keeping in for their skills in my opinion.  What's the point otherwise.  I wish Claudia Winkleman would get her fringe cut!!!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

More Stitching

First of all - I'm sorry that I didn't check my comments, I had comments that weren't posted to my blog for some reason.  I don't have comments on moderation so not sure why they didn't appear.  Sorry Theanne and Peggy.

I've been making some project bags again.  I gave a tutorial on these quite a while ago that I have now put onto a PDF if you would like a copy.
The reason I've made these is for the group I belong to.  We are doing monthly stitch-alongs. 
Each month a member comes up with a project and whoever signs up will get the tutorial.
As well as mine being a tutorial for the bag it also includes the idea for trying variations on a stitch - in this case it is chain stitch.
While I was researching chain stitch I saw a fab design that I just had to try

It was from the same site as the chain stitch instructions and is called Jacobean Jumble and was something really different for me.

I got a bit carried away with the chain stitch variation 'double chain stitch' and made another bag!

I don't know how many of these bags I've made, it is well over a dozen, probably as many as twenty.  They are useful for keeping things together, I tend to end up with bits and pieces that don't have a home, like my hair clips, rollers, hair bands etc, now they have their own bag instead of being scattered all over my bathroom.  Originally I made them for keeping my current project in.  I also keep my interfacing in one.  Anything that needs to be kept together in fact.  They are also nice to give away.